College of Education Awarded NSF Grant to Study Texas Teacher Labor Market and STEM Academies

Stephen Kotok, Ph.D., David S. Knight, Ph.D. and David J. Carrejo, Ph.D.

UTEP College of Education faculty members David S. Knight, Ph.D.;  Stephen Kotok, Ph.D., and David J. Carrejo, Ph.D. received a $589,407 grant from the National Science Foundation to assess the impact of Texas science, technology, engineering and mathematics (T-STEM) academies on students’ learning environments, educational outcomes and career path decisions.

Over the next three years, researchers will analyze the science and math teacher labor market in Texas and examine the impact of STEM academies on the teacher labor markets and on students’ educational and workforce outcomes.

The project is part of the Center for Education Research and Policy Studies’ (CERPS) efforts to build capacity for data-intensive research in education policy in the College of Education.

“With support from the College of Education Dean Cyndi Giorgis, our hope is to build a community of scholars conducting education policy research, provide training and mentoring to a team of graduate research assistants, and to gain permanent access to the state’s longitudinal student-level education datasets and expand their use to researchers across the UTEP campus,” said Knight, the grant’s principal investigator and associate director of CERPS.

T-STEM Academies are public high schools focused on improving instruction and academic performance in science and mathematics-related subjects and broadening participation in STEM careers for students who are underrepresented in STEM fields.

The project will explore whether students who attend a T-STEM Academy are more likely to attend a four-year college or university, major in a STEM field, graduate with a two- or four-year degree, work in a STEM industry, or earn higher salaries, compared to otherwise similar students in Texas who do not attend T-STEM Academies.

The researchers will first document disparities and historical trends in students’ access to highly qualified teachers across classrooms, schools and districts in Texas. The second part of the analysis will examine whether T-STEM Academies improve access to high-quality science and math teachers for students historically underrepresented in STEM industries. The researchers will then explore the impact of T-STEM Academies on students’ high school, postsecondary, and workforce outcomes.

The data for this project will include information on over 5 million individual students enrolled in K-12 schools in Texas each year and over 250,000 educators per year, for over a 20-year period. The longitudinal data allow researchers to track students’ academic progress over time and follow those students through postsecondary education and into the workforce.

About the researchers:

In addition to serving as associate director of CERPS, David S. Knight will join the Department of Educational Leadership and Foundations as an assistant professor, effective Sept. 1, 2017. David J. Carrejo is associate dean of Undergraduate Studies and Educator Preparation and an associate professor of mathematics education. Stephen Kotok is an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Foundations.